Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photos and hard drives

Hello my loyal readers!

First, some photos: The theme today is Playing in Puddles!

I got these shots last week after two straight days of rain. Not snow, but legit rain. It is January for crying out loud! I know, I'm in Arizona, but still rain in January blew my mind.
I saw a few puddles gathering on the sidewalks on campus and asked my ever trusty model Sarah to come out and get wet with me. As it turns out, I hardly got wet at all, while she ended up soaked. These shots were done for the "stop action" assignment in my black and white photo class. I have yet to get a good panning shot (though I didn't try much).

I have more photos coming later from the same shoot.

On a different topic: hard drives. I have about 1.7 TB in total external hard drive space (which is ironic, as I have not had a digital camera for almost a month now). Yesterday, my two (mirrored) 750gb drives decided not to mount to my macbook pro! I couldn't use them and the computer couldn't see them! I spent 2 hours connecting, disconnecting, and playing around in the Disk Utility before they agreed to play nice. Very frustrating. Though both are behaving well as of right now. My trusty 250gb portable drive still runs like a champ.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Camera Update

Got a call from Mike's Camera Boulder today.

Total cost of repairs and shipping on my D300 is $372.95

I will have it in my hot little hands in Flagstaff in 16 calendar days, or so help me God, somebody will pay.

I dropped off a roll of film this morning, and will get it back tonight. I expect some good shots :-)

Published again

Both of my shots that ran in this week's issue of The Lumberjack are in A&E (not my usual section).
I was expecting to get only one, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the website and saw not only the story on Art Spiegelman (an awesome guy) but also a shot from the NAU weekly film series. The Spiegelman shot is actually quite good considering it is a guy standing at a podium talking to 500 people (something most photogs on the staff try to avoid due to dullness). It was shot using my Editor's D100. Turned out very well. The film series shot was on 35mm film.

For those of you that care, the "search" feature is back online at, though stories do not show up in any particular order.

That's all for now! Off to class!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I attended my first News section meeting yesterday for the Lumberjack. It went well :-)

In my boredom yesterday, I did some self-portraits with my iSight camera on my mac.
Here is a before and after.
Before: lameAfter: better
There was a blown out highlight on my face in the original, so I figured I'd just blow out the whole thing. Some dodging, burning, and saturation changes later, I arrived here. Not an amazing photo, but better than no photo at all :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009


As of last night around 7:30, I am the News Photo Editor at the Lumberjack!

Three new photo editor positions have been created this semester: News, A&E, and Sports.
Essentially, the section photo editors act as liaisons. We go to the section meetings, give out ideas, tell the sections what can and can't work for photos (it is amazing what writers think will work for a picture in a story. They're wrong a lot). We also go to the photo meetings, talk to the photogs and tell them what the idea behind each story is, give clarification, things like that. Ultimately, the only editing I do is telling the News section that their ideas are impossible, or pushing really hard for ideas that will make great photos. I have some say in what runs, but MY editor (The photo editor) still does all the real work in choosing which photos will run and where.

Basically I do what I've been doing, + an extra 2 meetings a week.
For those extra 2 meetings, I get an extra $200/semester.

Good stuff.

Update on the D300.... I know nothing.
I am expecting a call from Nikon or Mike's Camera by Thursday. Until then, I know as much as you do.
But man, I miss that camera.

That's all for now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I spent this morning messing around in Photoshop, figured I'd update my business cards.

First, the new design. Just one side. It appears Blogger is having an issue with this image.... It looks great when not on this site. Check it here

Then the old design, which I never had printed. Two sides.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Photo 281

I am still skeptical about my first photo class at NAU. The name of the class is "The Fundamentals of Black and White Photography."
My main problem there is the "fundamentals," I feel like I have a very good grasp of the fundamentals, as I have been shooting for 5 years.
Still, I need to keep in mind that nobody is too old or too good to learn. While I may not be learning as much as the rest of my classmates, I am sure I will pick out tidbits of information over the course of the semester. And, practice is practice, regardless of where I get it.

My first assignments are:
1) Pan
2) Stop action
3) Night scene

Of these, a good panning shot is one I lack, so I will be focusing a lot on it. I have a lot of experience stopping action, and more than enough night shots to pull the other two assignments from my film archives if I need to.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


I had 2 shost make it into this week's issue of The Lumberjack (LINK).

Surprisingly, 1 for track. And not surprisingly 1 for the peace vigil.
Neither are great photos, but they both get the job done. Both shot on film.

They were the only photos published in color this issue. One on the cover, one on the sports section cover. :-)

I'm in a bit of a rush this morning, so that's all you get from me! Off to a day of classes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Yesterday I covered the MLK march on NAU campus.
Got this shot, which I really like.

Fun stuff. Our march was about 35 degrees, and this woman and her son both marched the half hour from north to south campus barefoot. Shot this on my old D50, generously loaned to me by the friend I sold it to.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I think this shot is totally appropriate for today, and for tomorrow.

Good 'ol Chase Jarvis has MLK's "I have a dream" speech on his site.
I find it amazing that he only looks at his notes for the first 12 minutes of his speech. After that, he's making it up. You just don't see public speakers like that these days.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tossing Cookies

I shot the first Track and Field invite of the season at NAU yesterday afternoon.

A bunch of smelly, sweaty college students, inside a huge indoor dome. The recipe for fun.
I am shooting 800 speed fujifilm. At f/2.8 I get 1/125 second (1/3 stop underexposed). Not exactly optimal when the sprinters can do 60 meters in just a few seconds.
Somehow, miraculously, I still managed to get a few decent shots. When I saw the CD this morning, I honestly couldn't believe how many were acceptable.
My favorite shot:

Warning! The shot below contains an athlete vomiting!

I forget which university this guy is from, but man he was having a bad afternoon. Right after he finished the men's 3000 meter run, he came over, grabbed the trash can, and started going at it. Fortunately for him (and those of us around him) there was apparently little left in his stomach.

I see this fairly frequently. Track and Cross Country athletes push and push and push their bodies. Makes for fun pictures, although I'm sure they don't enjoy it nearly as much as I do. On the bright side, he was so absorbed in his activity he didn't notice me taking pictures.

Fun stuff!
More later.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mmmm. Film

Another shot off my most recent black and white roll.
I enjoy shooting film, even though it is expensive (more than free) and I get really low-resolution scans from the labs. It feels more authentic, almost. I think more when I'm shooting film, because I know I can't just delete the photo and try again until I get it right. Recently my Method of Operation has been something like:
1) compose
2) focus (the focusing system on the N80 is lacking compared to what I am used to)
3) check exposure
4) double check all of the above
5) shoot

As opposed to my digital MO, which looks like:
1) check aperture
2) shoot
3) check screen for exposure and composition
4) reshoot as necessary.

Between the two, I think my film MO is much more productive and ends up with much fewer wasted shots and thus less wasted time.
When I get my D300 back, I will do my best to combine the best of both worlds.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Random shot

Off my last roll of black and white 35mm film:

Architecture is fun.

I got my list of materials today from my photo class. This chemical stuff is going to get expensive. >_<

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Successful film shooting

Hello there.

I have officially successfully shot a roll of 800 speed color film. I got 2 stories on it, and a few personal shots.

This is my personal favorite off the roll. I boosted the saturation a little in Aperture, but other than that the image is as captured.

Of course, Target refuses to scan images at a decent quality (300k per file? really? really target?!) so I am forced to take my negs to the photo lab on campus and scan them at REAL resolution. This is a pain in the ass, but life happens, I suppose. I don't have a freaking clue why they don't just scan at higher resolution. I can get humongous scans from Costco or Sams Club, and they do it for cheaper than Walgreens or Target. It isn't like it costs Target ANYTHING to make the files bigger, because regardless of the filesize, all 24 (or even 36) of my images will fit on a CD just dandy.

I could go to a "real" photo lab and have the images processed in the same machine for 3x the price. Of course, for that extra $$$ I would also get a 10x increase in file size. But, not owning a vehicle, it would take me a lot longer to get down to any real photo labs in Flagstaff.

This is the second shot recently that involves chalk writing. I like the look I am getting with these and will likely continue to search for interesting things written on my surroundings. This was originally captured on color film. I pulled it into photoshop and did some work on it to get it here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I know essentially nothing about the issues going on in Gaza, but I do like this shot I took Sunday night. Photographically speaking it isn't really a great picture, but it sort of speaks to me...

Shot on 35mm black and white C41 process film.

Up Early

My first time being up before the sun in quite some time.
It was very peaceful, and definitely beautiful. The moon was setting/rising right as dawn came over Flagstaff.

On a more photographic note: my first shoot for the paper on film is today. I expect to run just one roll of film on the event and see how it goes. I do not expect the story to run with a picture, so it will act as a practice shoot, hopefully not a very big deal if I totally mess it up (which I won't do).

I shot this image a couple days ago of my girlfriend. It took some persuasion to get her comfortable with my photographing her, and I still only got a couple good shots. The show below is one that I like very much, mainly because there was very little manipulation. I took a big dodge tool and knocked some light out of the background and I brought up the contrast on the image. I (of course) made a few more versions of the photo while I was in photoshop, but this is the one I like best, even though you can see the backdrop is my bedroom, and she is sitting on my bed... The image speaks to me. The other versions (along with a few other photos) can be found in my facebook albums HERE

(this was one of the last shots my D300 made before it fell. I am still waiting on Nikon to hear the assessment and estimate)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Black and White 35mm film


Yes. Between not having a digital body and reading all Ken Rockwell's rants about 35mm film, I have been convinced to shoot film seriously for a while. I have to say, so far it is going extremely well. My N80 with all the awesome glass I have accumulated does a wonderful job. Though sadly I can't use my old manual lenses (which i have several of) because the N80 won't meter. That right there is enough reason for me to get an F5. On the other hand, I paid $200 for the N80 and the F5 still costs $600 ish. Big difference. Maybe if I decide to forgo digital (like that will ever happen).

The first and last shot of this series I lit in my basement with 3 big lights. the middle two were available light only. All the images have been pulled into Aperture and tweaked because I shot them on C41 process film and the scans had color issues. Overall, I'm very happy with the results. Enjoy!

Because I don't have a digital body, I will be shooting my assignments for The Lumberjack (my school paper) on 800 speed color fujifilm. I will be sure to let you know how that goes, but I don't expect too much trouble. After all, our ancestors did photojournalism with film just fine. Ken Rockwell would argue better than we do now ;-)

Friday, January 9, 2009

D300 update

I went in to the repair shop at Mike's Camera in Boulder today.
The tech there convinced me to send my camera to Nikon for a repair estimate. He guessed between $300 and $350 to have it back in shape. I don't expect to hear anything for a couple weeks, but I will keep you, my loyal readers, updated.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I blog with bad tidings.

Today, at approximately 2:48 pm, my D300 was fatally wounded by a gust of wind.
No joke.

I was shooting at my church. Had the D300 on a tripod (a big, beefy, manly tripod too). I set it to timer because I wanted absolutely no movement. I pressed the shutter, and walked back to get out of the frame (I was shooting a reflective wall of windows). A gust of wind came and was enough to knock over my tripod with D300 and battery grip attached.

Upon picking up the camera, I noticed the damage:

There are also scuffs on the power switch and the UV filter.
Issues: Screen does not work at all, flash does not fire, camera is stuck in Vivid +3, Contrast +3 PC. Autofocus is stuck on, so the camera is constantly focusing.

The camera does still fire shots, and appears to be metering correctly... but I can't look at the images. I still get 8 frames a second in manual.

With the issues the camera has, I am now reduced to very limited shooting. Moral of the story, don't leave your camera unattended with high winds.

I am currently shopping for a new D300 body... so if you know where I can get one for cheap, let me know.

Boulder Fire(s)

I don't know much about the fires yesterday in Boulder. In the past I have usually tried fairly hard to get close and document fires, but yesterday I made the decision to leave this one to the paid journalists. I am impressed with what they came up with. Cliff Grassmick and Mark Leffingwell of the Camera both managed to get very close to real hotspots and got some very good shots.
I did drive up to the Niwot High School, where the Red Cross set up a shelter for the evacuees.

This shot was before the shelter got very crowded. People were all on their cell phones or watching the TV. There were a lot of dogs. Most people only had a few minutes to grab their stuff and go, so they grabbed pets and pictures and ran out the door.

This man and his daughter ended up in the Camera, playing in the NHS gym. I like this shot, as the man helps her pick out snacks, you can see the Red Cross symbol on the Tupperware.
Overall I think it was better that I stayed out of this fire. Though I'm sure I missed some great shots, pretty much all the photojournalists and all the cops were working this fire... cops seem to dislike journalists out of habit, and they also seem to think that one guy with a camera is more than enough. I've got nothing against cops, I just find it hard to get by them.

That's all for now.

Monday, January 5, 2009


As promised: Lasers and fog.

The subject is actually standing inside the beam of a party laser. The fog is spread out everywhere so the beam is visible. My brother is standing near the source of the laser with his fingers disrupting the beam, which is where the shadows come from.

I'm using a small LED flashlight from right underneath the subject to light her. The exposure is 6 ish seconds long to get the green laser, and I just guessed the length of the LED lighting.

I spent a fair amount of time recently doing black and white film, just to challenge myself. I'll post some of those shots later.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

random shot

I took the first image below quite a while ago. I lit it using my SB600, off camera (of course).
I like the image, but I when I took it, I knew it was just a starting point. It was going to need some work.
Going through my extensive library of 2008 images, I found this one and decided to try out my new Bamboo tablet and make something of the picture.

Some selective BW, vignette and contrast changes later, this is what I came up with. The only part that bugs me now is that the contrast in her hair doesn't match the contrast of the light falloff. Overall, I'm happy with it though.

Later: Playing with lasers and fog machines!